The Stored Communication Act, passed in year 1986, attempted to extend the Fourth Amendment’s protections on search and seizure by making it a federal offense to “access without authorization a facility through which an electronic communication service is provided; or intentionally exceeds an authorization to access that facility.” This law has been difficult to use in protecting individual users from law enforcement, in part because social networks like Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram treat user data as a tradable commodity instead of protected speech.
After Manhattan District Attorney Issues search warrants against Facebook – accusing it to be an alleged Social Security disability fraud case – the social giant reported to have had lost much of its bid in protecting 381 users.
As per social giant’s claims the search warrants were overly board and users being in interrogations could have been informed.
Moreover, according to the New York Daily News, a panel of Appellate judges ruled Facebook didn’t have legal standing to contest the warrants and had to hand over access to the accounts with no notification to the users.
UPDATE: Many law enforcement agencies are targeting social networks constantly due to their being popular and liked; amid which Facebook is considered to be criticized the most to have several involvements in criminal cases.
The research conducted by a scholar LexisNexis in year 2012, revealed approx. 70% of the 12,000 surveyed law enforcement agencies that had used social media to investigate their crime story.
The NYPD embraced social media as a new source of evidence, with officers dedicated to using Facebook to investigate “youth crews.” Facebook surveillance played a central part in preparing for 2014’s Manhattanville and Grant housing projects arrests.
In year 2014, Facebook sent a letter to the Drug Enforcement Administration asking its agents to stop creating fake profiles to use in spying on potential suspects.
Last December, Yasin Shearin was arrested on a felony charge of making a terroristic threat for posting an image of a gun held to a police officer’s head with a message “Let’s kill the cops.” his arrest embarks police’s usage of social media to harass and intimidate both minors and minorities.